Nursing home neglect is typically described as the failure of a caregiver to provide the necessary services to an adult to whom the caregiver has a contractual or legal duty to provide these services. Failure to provide proper care presents an imminent danger to the safety, health, or welfare of the client and may result in significant injuries or even death.
Nursing home abuse is described as the infliction of sexual, physical, or emotional harm or injury including the financial exploitation by any firm, person, or corporation.
Neglect and abuse can take on many forms, and it can be difficult to prove. The following are a few of the most common types of neglect and abuse:
- Abuse: Broken bones, over medicating, choking, dehydration, physical abuse, sexual abuse, mismanagement of diabetes, bed sores and pressure sores, scalding burns, falls and transportation accidents, feeding tube issues, urinary tract infections, malnutrition, and wrongful death.
- Neglect: Emotional or social neglect when a person is repeatedly left alone, ignored, or verbally abused; personal hygiene neglect where the person receives inadequate help with bathing, laundry, cleaning, brushing teeth, or hygienic practices; basic needs neglect when the nursing home neglects to provide the individuals with food, water, or a safe and clean environment; and falls when caregivers fail to provide proper care and assistance when helping patients move about.
While some types of neglect and abuse are distinctly noticeable, many times they are much harder to spot. Sometimes the victim will show signs of mistreatment. These signs may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Dehydration or Sudden Loss of Weight: If you notice these things, speak to your loved one’s doctor about it. While some facilities are multi-million dollar facilities, they budget very little for proper nutrition of their patients.
- Multiple Falls: There should be adequate measures in place to protect your loved one during transportation including the use of chair or bed alarms and more. Many falls happen during the transporting of the patient between the bed and chair, but most are preventable with proper care.
- Wounds on the Heels or Tailbone: Patients who are bedridden should be turned and repositioned frequently or placed on air mattresses to prevent bedsores and pressure sores.
- Changes in Activity or Mood: Facilities should have the appropriate personnel to monitor and administer medications correctly. Changes in your loved one’s mood or activity level could indicate that their medications are not being given correctly.
- Unexplained Cuts and Bruises: If your loved one is experiencing abnormal cuts and bruises that cannot be explained, it could be a sign of abuse.
- New or Worsening Disorientation or Confusion: If your loved one is suddenly confused or disoriented, or his or her condition seems to be worsening, look to see if there is an explanation for these changes.